Customized Stop-the-Slip Solutions
For Outdoor Concrete Steps

Reducing Slips and Falls on Spalling Concrete Steps

Especially in locations that receive snow and ice in the winter, the structural integrity of concrete steps can suffer.  As the photos below suggest, it’s not uncommon for concrete steps to chip and crack making them very dangerous any time of year. If you live in a colder climate, the freeze and thaw cycles will accelerate the concrete’s failure and the salt you apply to combat any ice formation will only make matters worse.

When shoveling the steps of snow and ice in the winter, the spalling chips of concrete will be scraped up by the shovel, creating even more cracks for water to invade and ice to form. It’s an endless cycle that often leads to cracked steps that promote slips, trips, and falls. It is crucial to address these structural issues before a loved one becomes injured while using the stairs.

Your Stop-the-Slip Solutions Graded:

HandiTreads: A-

If your concrete steps are pitted or starting to crack, HandiTreads will extend the life of the concrete treads.  Because HandiTreads are made from a single piece of aluminum, they act as a splint when attached to concrete with lags and screws. When properly installed, HandiTreads can simultaneously stabilize the concrete and improve traction in nearly any weather condition.

The patented raised-button traction surface of the aluminum treads is uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons disperses the layer of water, frost, or snow, creating solid contact between the tread and shoe.

Once installed, no maintenance is required for HandiTreads aluminum treads, which are guaranteed to last a lifetime in residential applications. Installation is simple and straightforward, but it’s important to remember that you’ll need to order concrete lags for installation.

Unlike other anti-slip solutions, you can safely use a snow shovel on HandiTreads without fear of damage to clear large amounts of snow. 

Because HandiTreads are a lifetime solution, their initial cost may be higher than other anti-slip products. However, when calculated over a three to five year performance period, the investment in HandiTreads is often the most cost-effective solution for homeowners.

Total Score: A

Effectiveness: A
Installation & Maintenance: A
Durability: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A

HandiTreads Nosings: A-

Concrete steps often crack and chip at the front end of the step which creates slip and fall hazards. HandiTreads Nosings are single pieces of aluminum that can cover the chips and cracks, acting as a splint when attached to the concrete. 

HandiTreads Nosings are available in several lengths, including 2.75″, 6″, and 9.″ These various sizes allow for application in a variety of settings, often eliminating the need to do a complete rebuild of the concrete steps. 

The patented raised-button traction surface of the aluminum nosings is uniquely self-cleaning. The pressure from a foot stepping on the rigid raised buttons disperses the layer of water, frost, or snow, creating solid contact between the tread and shoe. This ensures that your loved ones will be able to safely use the steps in all weather conditions. 

HandiTreads Nosings do not require any maintenance and are guaranteed to last a lifetime in residential applications. The nosings have a straightforward installation process, but you will also need concrete pin anchors or 3/4″ #8 anchors and screws to securely install the nosings into concrete. 

If you live in an area where it snows, you’ll find that you can use a snow shovel on your HandiTreads nosings without fear of damage. This is not the case with grit tape, rubber mats, or most other solutions.

Because HandiTreads Nosings are a lifetime solution, their initial cost may be higher. When calculated over a three to five year performance period, however, the investment in HandiTreads Nosings is often the most cost-effective solution.

handi-treads-nosing-unfinished-deteriorating-concrete-steps

Total Score: A-

Effectiveness: A
Installation & Maintenance: A
Durability: A
Initial Price: C
Long-Term Value: A

Rubber or Door Mat Style Treads: C-

Doormat-style and rubber treads are two of the most common solutions used for slippery outdoor concrete steps but are virtually useless when the stair lip is deteriorating. Doormat-style treads improve grip when wet, but their effectiveness varies based on their material and the aggressiveness of their texture. With persistent use, the non-slip properties of the doormat-style and rubber treads are significantly reduced, requiring replacements. 

Both rubber and doormat-style treads are effective in winter weather, but only if they are kept free of snow. Extra caution must be taken when using a snow shovel with rubber treads, as even a plastic blade can severely damage the tread. Deeply grooved rubber treads also catch and hold dirt, requiring them to be hosed down or intricately cleaned several times a year.

The installation and maintenance of rubber and door-mat style treads can be challenging on outdoor concrete stairs that are deteriorating. Some of the manufacturers suggest just placing the treads on the stairs without any anchors. By doing this, the “anti-slip” treads and mats become a slip and fall hazard in themselves because they could easily catch the edge of a shoe and move under the pressure of someone starting to fall. 

Rubber or doormat-style treads are only recommended if you permanently affix them to your concrete stairs with lags and screws. Depending upon the thickness and quality of the material, you can expect rubber or doormat-style treads to last only 1 to 3 years when installed on concrete steps that are deteriorating. With the cost of replacements factored in, rubber and doormat-style treads are not the most cost-effective long-term solution. 

Total Score: C-

Effectiveness: C
Installation & Maintenance: D
Durability: D
Initial Price: B
Long-Term Value: C

Grit Paint: F

If your concrete steps are deteriorating, grit paint will not be an acceptable solution. For example, if the concrete steps are flaking, the paint will flake off as well, leaving gaps in coverage that wet and winter weather will turn into dangerous slip and fall hazards. 

Similarly, anti-slip paint will do nothing to fix or prevent the deterioration of the lips of concrete steps.  If there are irregularities on the lips of the treads that could cause a slip and fall, they will still remain and worsen even after the grip paint is applied.

Total Score: F

Effectiveness: F
Installation & Maintenance: N/A
Durability: F
Initial Price: N/A
Long-Term Value: F